Wednesday 18 September 2019

BT gears up to take on competition as profits dip

Shares in the telecoms group were lower following the announcement.

The group continued to roll out fibre, as well as launching 5G mobile networks (PA)
The group continued to roll out fibre, as well as launching 5G mobile networks (PA)

By Alys Key, PA City Reporter

BT has pledged to ramp up competitive measures as it reported a dip in sales and profits during the first quarter.

Revenue was down 1% to £5.6 billion in the three months to June 30, though the decline was less steep than analysts had feared.

Profit before tax came to £642 million, down from £704 million a year ago.

BT said it had taken several major steps in the period, including EE launching the UK’s first 5G mobile network in six cities and the roll-out of Openreach fibre.

We believe this statement is intended to assert BT's determination to defend retail market share Jefferies analysts

Chief executive Philip Jansen said: “In building a better BT for the future we need to be even more competitive.

“We will continue to take decisive action, including on price, to further strengthen our customer propositions and market position, both to respond to any short-term market pressures and to capitalise on longer-term opportunities.”

Shares in the group were down 3.3% in early trading on Friday.

Analysts at Jefferies said: “We believe this statement is intended to assert BT’s determination to defend retail market share and may be directed at recent reports of Virgin Media planning new initiatives now that the UK becomes more central post-Vodafone deal closing.

“It may also signal, in our view, that management really is playing the long game in consumer, rebalancing pricing for future competitive benefit, rather than aiming to reveal forecast upgrade potential in the near-term.”

The group also backed the Government’s ambitions for full fibre broadband across the country, saying it is ready to help accelerate the roll-out.

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